Reviews & News
Manley Rods YakAngler.com review by Chris Funk (FERAL ONE)
March 12, 2014
When I had a hankerin’ to purchasea new rod it was driven by pure green envy. I needed a good heavy stick for punching and flipping and had been eyeing some rods my friend Jameson Redding had in his arsenal. He had been using them for a good while and I know for a fact they had been put through more abuse and travel than many anglers could dish out in a decade. One thing I particularly liked is the fact that the handles are adjustable. This allows him to tune on the fly to adjust for different conditions.
He put me in touch with Terry Manley of Manley Rods and I called him to talk about what I wanted. I had no idea how in depth of a discussion that would turn out to be and now I know how folks feel when they ask me a question about cameras. Terry loves his craft with a passion and that excitement was evident in his assessment of my needs. My “quest” was simple or so I thought. I needed a stiff pole to jerk critters out of thick stuff. Terry wasn’t satisfied with that; he wanted to know my primary targets, my primary lures, how I set the hook and how I fight a fish. He was thorough to say the very least. He even asked what colors I wanted on the handle, whether I wanted cork or EVA and what color I wanted the wraps. He had a plan drawn up for my new rod shortly and then he said something that struck me as funny: “make sure you have plenty of line on your reel before you cast”. I wasn’t sure about what he meant till I actually got the rod out on the water but more on that in a minute.
Terry uses top of the line components for his rod builds and every piece from tip to butt looks like it is built for battle. The biggest benefit for kayak anglers is the adjustable butt. This allows you to tune a rod for certain weight lures or if you are wearing a thicker PFD and need m ore room for the rod handle while you fish. It also allows you to change from a shorter handle for sitting to a longer handle if you stand or get out of your kayak and wade. I have even been able to adjust it while fighting a fish if I needed a little more leverage during the fight.
When my new rod came in I was amazed to see it packaged in a PVC rod tube for protection; that is first class in my book. I had spooled up my reel with 50lb braid for flipping and headed to the water to give it a good shake down. Remember what I said about having enough line on the reel? That first cast showed me the difference in what I had been using and what I now held. Had I not filled my spool I would have cast the entire length of line off! I just sort of grinned and thought about how much damage I could do throwing my big topwater baits with this setup when I change to a lighter braid.
I asked Terry to add a spinning rod to my order from his last year closeout models and had to restrain myself from buying every rod he had left when it came in. I will write up a piece on it with pictures later but be known it is the baddest, most sensitive spinning rod I have ever had my hands on. The custom rod was everything I hoped for and more; sensitive, light and strong enough to pull a bull moose out of a briar patch. More than one friend has eyeballed it but I have been known to shoot at a fella for messing with my fishing gear.
I have fished it in salt and fresh water; in lakes, rivers and bays and it has done everything I have asked of it well. From flipping lightweight plastics to throwing jigs over 1oz for stripers. It has the backbone to turn a good sized striper in heavy current but is still light enough to fish all day long. I haven’t had the chance to punch heavy cover with it but have little doubt that it will do the job beyond my expectations.
The coolest part about the whole rod search was getting to talk with Terry himself. Anyone that gets that excited about their craft is just plain interesting to me. It isn’t a job or business, it is a passion and that is plainly evident. I wanted a rod and he tailor built it for my needs. I ended up with a new rod and a new friend as a bonus. If you are in the market for an outstanding fish catching weapon of mass destruction, give Terry a call: but make sure you have time to talk!
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